The UFC has long flirted with the idea of implementing a flyweight division, but will the reality of the weight class happen before the close of 2011?
It’s not likely.
According to UFC president Dana White, plans are still in place for the 125-pound division to make its way to the promotion, but right now it’s looking like early 2012.
“Hopefully, early next year,” White told MMAWeekly.com about the new division coming to the UFC.
The flyweights have been rumored to make a home at Zuffa ever since the days of the WEC, but as of yet, the 125-pounders are still awaiting a home in the world’s biggest MMA promotion.
When the division gets up and running, White expects several fighters from their current roster to drop down in weight to help fill the flyweight division, just like what’s happened when they’ve debuted other weight classes in the past.
“Yeah probably, that happens every time we open up a new weight division,” White commented about fighters dropping weight. “Kenny Florian fought at 185 the first season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ so yeah, you’ll see guys move down I think. You might even see guys who are world champions like Frankie Edgar move to ’45. It makes sense, not saying he is, but it would make sense.”
A couple of names that come to mind to help fill the 125-pound roster include former bantamweight title contender Joseph Benavidez, who has expressed interest in dropping down in weight previously, as well as current 135-pound contender Demetrious Johnson.
Johnson is currently in training for his shot at the bantamweight title at UFC on Versus 6 in October against current champion Dominick Cruz, but there’s still a possibility he could drop down if the opportunity presented itself.
Add to that list Charlie Valencia as well, who has expressed interest if a flyweight division is finally created for the UFC.
Along with current talent, there’s no doubt that UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby would likely raid other talent pools to help fill the flyweight waters as well. Ian McCall, who is currently rated by most as the top flyweight in the sport, could make a return to the Zuffa family if the division debuts.
McCall just recently won the Tachi Palace Fights flyweight championship, and has gone on a dominant run since exiting the WEC after appearing at 135 pounds for a few fights.
More names could follow McCall to the UFC, but it appears if those plans are in place it will be at least 2012 before it happens.
McCall is likely to get at least one more fight in under his current Tachi Palace Fights deal, with a proposed bout currently rumored for December.
As for the rest of the flyweights, it will be the old game of hurry up and wait as the UFC closes out 2011 before likely focusing on the 125-pound division in 2012.